Outrage of the Weekend: Authorities Threaten Mom for Helping Other Mom

Hi Readers! Glad a few of you sent this one in. I’m not sure it has to do with Free-Ranging exactly — it sounds more like regulations gone wild. Moreover, I bet it’ll be rectified soon. But in the meantime, let’s hear it for neighbors helping neighbors (rather than neighbors turning IN neighbors). Here is the article in its entirety from WZZM, the ABC TV station in West Michigan:


A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors’ children.

Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.

The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors’ kids, or face the consequences.

“It’s ridiculous.” says Snyder. “We are friends helping friends!” She added that she accepts no money for babysitting.

Mindy Rose, who leaves her 5-year-old with Snyder, agrees. “She’s a friend… I trust her.”

State Representative Brian Calley is drafting legislation that would exempt people who agree to care for non-dependent children from daycare rules as long as they’re not engaged in a business.

“We have babysitting police running around this state violating people, threatening to put them in jail or fine them $1,000 for helping their neighbor (that) is truly outrageous” says Rep. Calley.

A DHS spokesperson would not comment on the specifics of the case but says they have no choice but to comply with state law, which is designed to protect Michigan children.

By all means, let’s protect them from being part of a helpful, friendly community! Phew! — Lenore

P.S. THIS JUST IN! A strikingly similar situation in England! Two women with girls the same age share a job. When one is at work, the other watches both kids. Now the government is saying this is illegal unless both women register as child care providers and undergo inspections! Best quote, by an onlooker opposed to this bizarre policy? “Something akin to a kind of anxiety-driven psychosis seems to have engulfed government policymaking in the realms of children and family life.”  

Free-Range Kids Outrage of the Week: “Wear Goggles When Putting Up Posters”

As nutty as we think the restrictions on American kids and teachers are getting, England may even be a few steps ahead. In this piece from The Telegraph, teachers tell of regulations that require them to wear goggles  when putting  up  posters with “Blue-Tack” (i.e., sticky stuff). They were also issued a 5-page warning about glue sticks  (which they call the Pritt Stick). Meantime, school got rid of its “three-legged” races for the kids — too dangerous — while another got rid of its climbing equipment because the wood chips underneath weren’t the required depth.

Calling Monty Python!

Worst of all — for kids, for teachers, for anyone who wants our children to poke through the increasingly bullet-proof  bubble that is childhood — four teachers in ten said that some field trips had been “toned down or cancelled” because they just weren’t safe enough.

When you have to wear goggles to put up a poster, what is?

— Lenore